Agenda item


To consider any requests received in accordance with Standing Orders.



A deputation had been received from Mr Stuart McNamara and Mrs Victoria Alvarez in relation to item 9 of the Agenda – the Cabinet Response to the Scrutiny Panel Review on Wards Corner.


Ms Victoria Alvarez, representing the Latin Village, was invited by the Leader to put forward her deputation to Cabinet. Ms Alvarez was joined by Mr Patrick Rey.


Mr Rey introduced the deputation and spoke for the traders of Latin Village in his capacity as a leader of the campaign to Save the Latin Village.


Mr Rey expressed that the Housing and Regeneration Scrutiny Panel had listened to the voices of the traders at Wards Corner and had considered evidence over many months, deliberated and reached its conclusions carefully. The traders felt heard by the Scrutiny Panel and praised the Planning Officer, who reviewed whether Grainger had complied with Section 106 planning obligations when it was appointed the Market Operator, Quarterbridge. Citing the Planning Officer’s report in which he wrote Grainger had breached the Section 106 agreement, Mr Rey queried why the draft response to the Scrutiny Panel claimed there was no breach.


The deputation asked Cabinet to fully consider and respond to the questions the traders had raised with action. Mr Rey claimed the proposed responses to the recommendations gave the traders no confidence that Cabinet had considered the concerns of the traders.


Mr Rey continued to praise the Scrutiny report and its contents. He claimed the Scrutiny process had allowed all parties to be tested and queried whether Cabinet accepted the facts found within the report.


Mr Rey sought for Cabinet to agree that Haringey had a responsibility to protect the market, its traders and the community it serves.


Mr Rey noted the Council and traders wanted a mutual future where the traders and Market were secure. However, they were not confident this would be realised with Mr Rey claiming there had been harassment by the Market Manager. He further claimed several traders faced eviction from the Market because of alleged breaches of their Market agreements with MAM.


Mr Rey questioned what precisely the draft response offered traders in terms of the future. He stated real commitment meant supporting traders now and fully committing to community involvement and oversight of the next Market facilitator. Cabinet were requested to support those commitments.


The deputation asked for round table discussions and for Cabinet to support the Community Plan that had been proposed. Cabinet were also asked to demand the dismissal of the current Market Operator and to engage in the recruitment process for this position.


Mr Rey closed by asking Cabinet to reconsider its response to the Scrutiny report and answer questions raised in the deputation.


Following the deputation, the Leader invited Cabinet Members to ask questions.


Councillor Bull queried whether there had been any conversations with the owners of the site, London Underground Limited, and what representations had been made to them. The deputation responded that they had tried for years to meet the owners of the site but had found initial difficulty in identifying who the owners were. They claimed that, following lengthy discussions with London Underground Limited, they were told they had been addressing the wrong department, which delayed discussions. Mr Rey further noted that once the current Market Operator took over in September 2015, the traders had asked TfL if they could take over the lease but were told that those who held the lease had a right to extend or renew it. He claimed that the traders were unaware that Grainger had been able to act as guarantor for MAM despite it working for Grainger, which the traders felt was unprofessional. The traders complained to TfL but Mr Rey claimed they said they had no involvement in the day to day management of the Market.


Councillor Bull further queried what direct representations the deputation had made to those responsible for the building and whether they had sought legal advice regarding the state of the building. The deputation responded by stating they had lawyers representing a group of the traders but claimed the main issue they faced was that this group of traders were not allowed to make investments in the Market. They further felt that the Market Operator were not allowing updates so that they could make a case to knock down the building. The deputation considered that the building could be invested in to improve it and highlighted its essentialness to the community. Mr Rey claimed that the traders had tried to speak with the previous Market Manager but had found him to be abusive. TfL had carried out investigations following this and had made the individual apologise to traders for inappropriate behaviour.


Councillor Hearn thanked the party for their deputation and queried whether they felt the existing facilities met the needs of traders and customers and whether  they considered anything needed to change. The deputation responded by noting they had a Community Plan which had been agreed by the Council in its role as a Planning Authority. They accepted that the Market could have better facilities which was addressed in their Community Plan by utilising the empty space situated at the top and side of the Market. They claimed the Community Plan also addressed the needs of the customers and community at large.


Councillor Ibrahim questioned whether the deputation had discussed with TfL their proposed investments in the building to improve conditions or their concerns about the state of the building. The deputation claimed the Market was easy to operate and generated good revenues yet no investment was being made to the building. They claimed they were not able to invest to improve the building, cosmetically, and that this was the responsibility of the Market operator. They further claimed the Market Operator had failed to invest in the Market and the traders had approached TfL regarding this but were informed it was nothing to do with them, with a similar response received from the Council.


The deputation was joined by Mr Ben Beach who accepted the building required substantial investment. He claimed the problem was that the Market Operator had responsibility for the ground floor and TfL had allowed the building to be derelict for over four decades, and so long as the roof and structure of the building were not invested in, any changes to the Market could only be cosmetic. The Community Plan sought to strip the building back to its core structure and rebuild it to allow the disused and inaccessible parts of the building to be redone. The redone upper floors would be able to be used by the community with any money generated reinvested to support the wider community. Regarding representations that had been made, he informed there had been numerous and substantial correspondence with TfL. There had further been correspondence with the Mayor of London’s Office, Joanne McCartney. There had also been a direct approach for a meeting with James Murray and Heidi Alexander.


The Leader invited the Cabinet Member for Finance and Strategic Regeneration to respond to the deputation.


The Cabinet Member for Finance and Strategic Regeneration thanked the representatives of the Latin Village for their deputation. In response to the questions and concerns raised, the Cabinet Member made the following points:


  • The Council had always taken the welfare and concerns of the traders into consideration. The Council had set up the Wards Corner Policy Advisory Group, which was chaired by the Cabinet Member. There was also an independent consultant who had spoken to a number of key stakeholders. The Council empathised with the traders and set up these measures to ensure that their interests were considered.
  • The Cabinet Member was aware the traders had raised a number of issues with TfL regarding the conduct of the Market manager and that they had apologised where they found fault.
  • The Council was not the freeholder of the site but rather London Underground Limited was and the property was managed by TfL on behalf of LUL. They had a duty to ensure the building was safe and had a duty under health and safety requirements to deal with issues raised, which the Cabinet Member understood had been addressed.
  • Regarding the Community Plan, the Cabinet Member noted it had received Planning approval on the basis that the traders engaged with the freeholder of the property, TfL. The Council would assist however it was able to.
  • The report of the Policy Advisory Group was published on 17th January 2020 which was viewable online in English and Spanish.
  • The Council had taken the concerns raised seriously and engaged with TfL. Further, an independent Market consultant had been brought into liaise with key stakeholders such as the traders and other interested parties.
  • The Cabinet Member sought to reassure the traders that the Council was with them and would continue to work with them moving forwards. Ultimately, however, the traders would need to engage with TfL.


The Leader allowed Mr Rey to provide a short response to the Cabinet Member. Mr Rey claimed the Council had a compulsory purchase order on the site and requested they release the site so that they could freely talk to the landowner and carry out the Community Plan.


The Leader highlighted that the traders needed to have conversations with TfL. The Council would continue to look at making the Market in the long term sustainable and also continue its discussions with TfL, Grainger and traders. The Leader reminded the deputation that the building was owned by TfL and leased to MAM. The Leader noted MAM’s contract to run the Market was due to run out in September 2020.


The Leader closed by thanking the party for their campaign.